Airbus expects newly-imposed import tariffs arising from its subsidies dispute with Boeing to affect a small number of deliveries this year, but is concerned that the situation will become more difficult in mid-2020.
Speaking during Airbus's nine-month financial briefing, chief financial officer Dominik Asam said the airframer may have to defer a number of deliveries to US carriers and reallocate slots to other customers – with associated time and cost impacts.
Tariffs took effect on 18 October. While there is no penalty on components delivered to Airbus's US assembly line in Mobile, there is a 10% tariff on deliveries from European lines to US customers.
Chief executive Guillaume Faury says Airbus is working with its US customers to "manage the consequences" of these tariffs.
"Deliveries from Mobile are not affected," he says, adding that the impact on the remainder of deliveries from European production facilities is "rather limited".
At the moment, he says, the airframer is handling the matter "aircraft by aircraft".
But he admits that Airbus is more concerned about the situation becoming more complex next year, stating that the problem becomes more "difficult to manage" in the second half of 2020 in particular.
Airbus wants to be in a position from mid-2020 to ensure that the import duties are paid by the airline customers, as required by contract. But Faury points out that a 10% tariff is "a lot of money".
The World Trade Organization dispute is likely to result in a set of counter-tariffs being imposed on Boeing aircraft deliveries to Europe.
Faury says this will provide "even more reason for a settlement", and adds that he remains "hopeful" that the two sides will de-escalate the conflict and find a "negotiated solution", before the dispute causes "serious damage" to the industry and broader economy.